With the Virginia Cavaliers heading out to Provo in search of their fifth straight win, we talked with Robby McCombs from the BYU SB Nation site Vanquish the Foe to preview the matchup and discuss the intricate relationships between the two programs.
What does the BYU fanbase think of Bronco and his return to Provo?
BYU fans have positive feelings towards Bronco. BYU was at a low point when he took over in 2005, and he had good success during his tenure. I think both sides were ready for a change when he left to Virginia, but he will get cheers from the fans Saturday night.
What are you most concerned about UVA?
The answer has to be the passing attack, right? BYU’s offense has given up a lot of yards this season but has done a good job of limiting points. Baylor had the most success versus BYU’s defense, but they did their damage on the ground. BYU’s defense is built more in a “bend but don’t break fashion” and they’ve had success in the past versus air raid attacks. BYU will drop 8 guys in coverage a lot and limit big plays, so if Armstrong is patient and doesn’t force things he should have success.
What are your thoughts on BYU’s quarterback situation? Is Jaren Hall still entrenched as the guy?
Baylor Romney has looked good when filling in for Jaren Hall, but Hall is still the guy. He led BYU to wins over four Power-5 teams and had over 300 yards of passing in the Boise State and Baylor losses. He injured his ribs last month versus ASU, but he’s getting closer to 100% and starting to use his legs more. He hasn’t run quite as much as he did the first three weeks, but he can still make all the throws he needs to. BYU has a deep receiving room with 4 good WRs and 2 TEs that can really stretch the field. Washington transfer Puka Nacua has really broken out the last month and is the most dynamic receiver.
Where do you think BYU’s biggest weakness is particularly in the last three games?
BYU has limited points but they’ve allowed long drives and have struggled to get off the field on third down. BYU will allow yards, but the key will be limiting TD’s in the red zone. If UVA can score TD’s in the red zone, they likely win.
Offensively, Tyler Allgeier is top 10 nationally in rushing yards and will be the focal point for BYU. BYU has a good running game and weapons in the passing game, but they haven’t had a game yet where they are truly dynamic for four quarters. BYU will need to have its best offensive game to beat UVA.
What’s your prediction for this game?
BYU will ride Tyler Allgeier on the ground, and I think he is ultimately the difference as BYU squeaks out a 38-34 win. BYU’s best performances this year have come at night at home, and I think the crowd will give BYU some juice in Bronco’s return. BYU’s coaching staff will have extra motivation to win as Bronco and his staff have come in BYU’s backyard recently and gotten some recruits that would normally go to BYU (McKenzie bros, Andrew Gentry).